On Wednesday afternoon, Luke Rollman found himself surrounded by family, friends and loved ones in an area of Lakeview High School known as “The Pit.”
Doesn’t sound very hospitable, but it was certainly warm and fuzzy on this day as Rollman put pen to paper, signing a national letter of intent to play basketball at Northeast Community College.
Rollman said his choice to become a Hawk was simple.
“I’m used to going to a small school, so I didn’t want to go to a big one,” he said. “It’s also close to home.”
Rollman is the latest in a line of siblings to continue their respective athletic careers at the college level.
However, there was an epiphany when older sister Kiley went off to play college volleyball, he said.
“It was when I saw my sister go off to play in college,” said Rollman. “I knew I could go to college, too.”
Northeast head coach Dan Anderson, who will be entering his 21st season as Hawks bench boss knows exactly what he’s getting with Rollman, he said.
“Besides the scoring Luke brings, he has the length and size,” Anderson said of the 6-foot-8 post player. “He’s a really good rebounder and you can never have enough of those.”
Something else Rollman’s size will give Anderson is more flexibility in how the Hawks can play, he said.
“The way today’s game is played, you need guys who are rim-protectors and Luke definitely is one,” said Anderson. “What that allows us to do is to let some of our other players gamble a little more offensively, knowing we have help back there.”
Despite an excellent all-around senior campaign which saw Rollman average 7.7 points per game, including a season-high 20 in a 50-46 win against Schuyler on Dec. 28, Anderson believes Rollman can still get much better.
“I really feel like Luke’s best basketball is ahead of him,” he said. “He’s still going to grow and mature more, especially with getting stronger and thicker on a weight and nutrition plan.”
Another bonus for Anderson and his program is having a local player on the roster, he said.
“It’s always good to get players from our area,” said Anderson. “It brings more people out to our games and is a good story of how a local kid can work hard at the junior college level, then move on.”
One of those in attendance was mother Staci Rollman, who was thrilled with her son’s new opportunity.
“Our entire family is just so proud of him,” she said. “Luke’s a hard worker, is honest, responsible and does what’s asked of him.”
As for the player himself, it was nice to be able to soak up the atmosphere of the occasion, he said.
“It really feels great to have everybody out here for this,” said Rollman. “It’s what’s great about a small community.”